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Lecture 18

ENG3318 Lecture 18: March 30 – Byron

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Elaine Bailey

March 30 – Byron  most flamboyant  most controversial  1788-1824 (36) – illness by infection on battle field  lots of relationships with boys and women: rumours emerged  troubled family life (became heir to become baron at 11 or 12), father was mad, caused scandal. o He and mom quarreled violently o Uncle charged with manslaughter  These two things led to ancestral baggage o Didn’t have effective male role model o Likely suffered from sexual abuse and physical abuse  Changed way of living when he found he would be a baron o Public school system of the elite and then Cambridge  Sense of greatness at 16  Political – aristocrat and in house of lords (1809), but largely liberal (sympathetic to poorer people0  Befriended John Cam Hobhouse, Shelley, Leigh Hunt (publisher), Thomas Moore (poet) – became friendly in Italy  Eccentric in manner – moody o Became particularly unkind to women  Became celebrity (good looks) and financial success upon publication of Childe Harold, 1812: “I awoke one morning and found myself famous.”  Childe Harold – landmark publication (1 of 2) – poetry sold well o Never wanted to keep money (eventually he had to to live in Italy)  Number of scandalous relationships (most devastating: Lady Caroline Lamb)  Exiled self in 1816 because of baggage of relationships o Popularity went up and down  His politics attrative to many. He was also accessible, attracted lower social order o Combined long poems and prose – rhyme schemes  Sincerity isn’t a huge concern. Much more playful.  The “anti-romantic” – preferred Augustan style of poetry  Blank verse is only for drama. Paradise Lost was exception, but wouldn’t have been destroyed “Darkness”  Genre? What other works belong to same genre? (Apocalyptic works, the Book of Revelation and “the last man” (Mary Shelley) and Dunciad  Title: refers to subject and vision it describes  Tone: bleak, dark, decay, no hope (distinguishes him from earli
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